Shadow Environment Minister Barry Gardiner of the UK's liberal Labour Party told Channel 4's Dispatches his government's decision to base the country's car taxes on CO2 output was "the wrong decision," because it had the unintended effect of pushing consumers into diesels.
While diesels produce less CO2 than gas engines, they emit four times as many nitrous oxides and 22 times the particulate soot. Both of these pollutants can harm the lungs and blood vessels, and can lead to heart disease, strokes and diabetes, The Independent reports.
"Certainly the impact of that decision has been a massive problem for public health in this country," MP Gardiner said.
Gardiner's statements come as two London boroughs, Islington and Hackney, attempt to place an additional surcharge on parking permits for diesel vehicles, signaling that opposition to diesels is moving beyond high levels of government.